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Parts of HS2 set for further two year delay after route to Leeds is scrapped

The high-speed railway sections between Birmingham, Crewe and Manchester will be delayed as inflation encourages increased costs.

Phase one of HS2 has the railway being built between London and Birmingham. Phase two was to connect Birmingham to Crewe and Crewe to Manchester. Phase one is expected to have its first services running by the early 2030s.

HS2 was originally planned to carry over 300,000 passengers a day. This number will be far lower now the Leeds leg has been scrapped and a two year delay puts HS2 in the balance.

William Tate, 24, from Leeds, travels to and from London for work and was excited about the prospect of HS2 helping his commute. He said “HS2 would’ve been a game changer for me. I have a girlfriend at home who I own a house with and being away so long just from commuting isn’t the best. We want to spend time together and the evenings are always cut short because of the commute every now and then because of the terrible state of the railways. It’s really disappointing.”

In 2021 the link to Leeds was scrapped and many called into question how much money was being spent on the project. Back in 2021 Mick Lynch, RMT Union leader, said that it was a “historic betrayal of the people of the North” that would lead to a dramatic reduction in rail capacity.

Mark Harper, Transport Secretary in Rishi Sunak’s government, said “the next two years will be used to rephrase construction and optimise future delivery of Phase 2a between Birmingham and Crewe.”

The Transport Secretary blames “Putin’s war in Ukraine” which has “hiked up inflation, sending supply chain costs rocketing. The responsible decisions I’ve outlined today will ensure we balance the budget at the same time as investing record sums in our transport network.”

Labour have attacked the Transport Secretary Mark Harper saying “the North is yet again being asked to pay the price for staggering conservative failure”. The total cost for a completed HS2 is estimated to be between £70billion and £100billion.

Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said “Get on with it, stop wasting taxpayers’ money and deliver what the North has been promised – and if you can’t or won’t, Labour will.”

Labour also pledged to build HS2 in full, including the final leg to Leeds saying “Investment in transport is fundamental to tackling the twin challenges the next government will seek to address.”

Jeremy Hunt will be announcing a spring budget soon and many are looking on to see what the fate of HS2 is.

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